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Greatest Phillie in the Last 50 Years? Mike Schmidt or Steve Carlton?

Kevin McGuireSenior Analyst IJuly 14, 2009

SAN DIEGO - 1987:  Mike Schmidt #20 of the Philadelphia Phillies swings at a pitch during a 1987 season game against the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Choosing between the two is like asking which child is your favorite. You love them both and would never want to place one above the other. But 950 ESPN is asking you to do just that with a poll this week on their website.

Each week the Philadelphia sports radio station is polling listeners asking for their input on the best athlete for each of the Philadelphia teams, culminating with a poll pitting the best of the best between each other to determine the best Philadelphia athlete over the last 50 years.

Wilt Chamberlain won the vote for the best Sixer over the last 50 years and this week they are looking for the best Phillies player over the last 50 years.

Your options are Richie Ashburn, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley.

I have some issues with this poll right from the start but the fans at least are showing that this really is just a two man race; Carlton at the moment has 57 percent of the votes and Schmidt has 35 percent of the votes. Chase Utley is in a distant third with 3 percent of the votes, Ashburn behind him with 2 percent.

Let me get the most annoying part off my chest; Richie Ashburn does not deserve to be on this poll. Seriously. Ashburn is one of the best players in franchise history, but judging by the foundation for the poll and the restriction of the last 50 years should eliminate Ashburn from discussion.

Ashburn did play the 1959 season with the Phillies, so he does fall under the 50 year guideline, but the 1959 season was Ashburn's worst with the Phillies. His 20 runs batted in were the worst of his Phillies tenure, and his nine stolen bases were tied for a low with the Phillies. His .266 batting average also ranks at the bottom for his Phillies career. Want more? With 150 hits Ashburn had his worst season as a Phillie in 1959.

What I am trying to say is that Ashburn not only is not the best Phillie in the last 50 years, but to have him on the poll is a crime. Now what about Robin Roberts?

Roberts is one of the best pitchers in Phillies' franchise history, evidenced by his retired number. With no disrespect intended for the Hall of Famer, Roberts also does not belong on this list, going with the guideline of the last 50 years.

Roberts played for the Phillies between 1948 and 1961, but for the purposes of this poll, I only take into account his 1959-1961 seasons.

In those three seasons Roberts went 28-43, including 1-10 in 1961, failing to record a winning season in each of those three seasons. He also suffered the worst three seasons in regards to ERA while with the Phillies and he only finished five games (after finishing an average of 21.6 games each season from 1948 to 1958).

So what am I saying here?

If 950 ESPN is going to do this poll they should at least put some research and thought into their poll selections. Carlton or Schmidt should win this poll no matter what players they are up against, but at least give the correct options.

The two players who should be on this poll before Ashburn and Roberts are Jimmy Rollins and Curt Schilling.

Rollins has put together 150+ hit seasons from 2001 to last season, lead the team in triples four times, put together an MVP season, stole 311 bases, scored 896 runs, recorded over 1,500 hits and picked up a pair of Gold Glove awards.

Schilling put together 95 wins in Phillies pin stripes and was the ace of the 1993 World Series runners up. The three-time Phillies All-Star pitched 15 complete games in 1998 when the Phillies were 75-87. In today's age that is almost as close to Carlton's 27 win 1972 season as you can get.

Now my final riff. This one is with the voters who are creating a landslide for Carlton over Schmidt. Again, Carlton and Schmidt are unquestionably two of the best players in franchise history, so choosing either one of them makes sense just about any way you pose the question.

But Schmidt is the best third baseman of all time. Again; of all time.

The vote should be in favor of Schmidt because as good as Carlton was, not even he is a landslide to be named the best pitcher, or maybe even left handed pitcher, of all time. To vote against someone who is unanimously recognized as the epitome of a position is just ludicrous.

Schmidt is a 10-time Gold Glove winner, though some may beg to differ, a twelve time All-Star selection, six time Silver Slugger winner, three time NL MVP, and a World Series MVP.

Yes, Carlton has four NL Cy Young Awards but Schmidt clearly had more competition for the MVP award. Schmidt also played every day at one of the toughest positions in the field.

Be smart people. Vote Schmidt.

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